Bumpin’ Uglies CD Release Party Review

Metropolitan

The Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending an EP release party at the Metropolitan… Kitchen and Lounge located on West Street in Annapolis. Featuring both local and out-of-state bands and attended by an eclectic group of music lovers ranging from all walks of life, this specific release party was for the wildly popular local group, Bumpin’ Uglies. That night, the Uglies, featuring a stellar supporting cast, promoted their latest work: the extended play, “Freakout Hell Bus”.

Because of the bands that played, I was not only able to listen, but also able to gain a new level of appreciation for funky reggae and rock; some of the best genres to catch a serious groove with. Inspired by artists ranging from Sublime to Led Zeppelin, the musicianship that each group presented was great. While Bumpin Uglies headlined the night, three separate groups warmed their stage and crowd thanks to the arrangement of local industry player Mr. Justin Lasher, currently working for the full service event production company, First Level Productions.

The first act of the night was the local up-and-coming group, Freelance. Setting the tone for the night early, Freelance was able to bring in a solid crowd of what seemed to be younger audience members, just as interested in music as the usual suspects who frequent venues like this. Combining reggae – rock and alternative, these guys did a nice job kicking off the release party. While it was very clear that they were younger, more specifically high school-aged, they were able to bring a heavy energy to make up for any age barriers present.  Musicians Trevor Prescott, vocals and guitar, Jesse Johnson, guitar, Luke Turner, bass, and Drew Creed, drums, are definitely some guys to keep on the radar.

Amongst the Monks Metropolitan

The second group, Amongst the Monks.

The second group of the night was another one of the rare out-of-state gems that I seem to run into every time I go to venues like the Metropolitan. Amongst the Monks are a four piece from Corning, New York, and I can say without a doubt that these guys (and girl) blew my mind. While the audience sadly decreased in size from earlier, the groove of both the songs and instrumentals, like my personal favorite of the night, “Resting Bitch Face”, absolutely tore the room up. I was able to catch up with the Monks after their set, and learned more about them as a group. Originally a three piece trio featuring Phil Way on guitar and vocals, Ian Kull on bass, and Jeremy Bussmann on drums, the newest addition of vocalist Emily Plummer rounded out an extremely polished group clearly inspired by the likes of Zeppelin and other jam mastering greats. While watching, I honestly could not believe the lack of size of the crowd taking part in the performance. It is a shame that there were not many people watching and moving along with the band, but this group is poised to come back around soon enough. Hopefully then, the crowd will grow and amp up enough to bring the energy to an all time high – something that would put this group over the top.

Higher Education Metropolitan

The third group, Higher Education.

Following Amongst the Monks was Prince George’s County based group Higher Education. As the darkness had crept into this point of the summer night, more and more people began to enter the venue to prepare for the headlining act. From the first minute of their set, it was clear that they were very polished, and very ready to have a great time. Featuring brothers Petey and Danny Devaney on guitar, bass, and vocals, as well as drummer Bradley Wilson, the extremely special sound of this band came from Saxophone player Dave Klein. While incredible instrumentalists in each of their own rights, the combination of a tight rock band featuring a horn section made for an indispensable sound. Dancing, singing, moving – the crowd were into these guys, and rightfully so. Seeing them for the first time sold me, and I can’t wait to hear what is next. Like every other group, energy was clearly brought, but the bigger audience turnout at this specific point of the night really set the island mood for what was coming next.

Bumpin Uglies Metropolitan Surf Reggae Rock

The final act and headliners: Bumpin' Uglies. Serious sized crowd at this point.

The last act and headliners of the event were none other than Bumpin’ Uglies. Presenting a wide variety of new and old songs, not much can be said about their performance aside from one word – fantastic. Matching extremely well written vocal lines and harmonies along with the tight instrumental performances of funky, Sublime inspired reggae-rock, the Uglies put on a great show. While each band shined in their own light, the stage presence and antics of lead singer and guitarist, Brandon Hardesty, made for arguably the most entertaining performance of the night. The rhythm section of Dave Wolf and TJ Haslett on the bass and drums, respectively, could not have been any tighter. These guys are seasoned pros, and it shows. If their music was not already cool enough, Brandon was willing to sit with me for a while before his set and chat. His story will be brought to you as a SurfRhythm exclusive as our next segment in Local Waves. Playing until past midnight, Bumpin’ Uglies closed out their party as any professionals would – keeping smiles on faces and the night alive for the audience. Truly, a job well done.

While watching and dancing to the musicians pouring their hearts and souls into this craft, I was able to notice the mix of people, both young and old, dancing, singing along, and just having a good time. As a commonly noted frequenter of many different styles of music, this gig stood out to me. It is truly mind blowing to know that there are groups working tirelessly, not always for the money and the fame, but just for the passion and to make their living doing what they love. This mindset seemed to be one of the connecting links between each group. While not playing the exact same types of music, the common theme of the heavy jam was strong with everyone. It just goes to show how cool it can be to have a good time with people, be it your friends, or someone you just met, and how the waves of melody can make your night.

All in all, this was a great gig to go to. Between the atmosphere, people, and most importantly the music, there was no negativity to be seen or heard. All of these bands are either currently on some form of tour or performance schedule. Attached below are the links to their respective pages and music, given in order to help anyone interested learn more about the bands, music, tour dates – the whole nine yards. Even if this kind of music is not your cup of tea, or case of beer for that matter, I highly recommend checking each one out. You will absolutely not be disappointed.

Bumpin’ Uglies: http://bumpinugliesmusic.com/

Higher Education: http://highereducationband.com/

Amongst the Monks: http://www.amongstthemonks.com/

Freelance: https://www.facebook.com/FreelanceBandMD

 

9 Mile Roots – Exclusive Artist Spotlight

“On The Floor” Exclusive Premiere on TopShelf Reggae

Download “On The Floor” Exclusively from TopShelf Reggae

9 Mile Roots Montauk Music Suburban Reggae

TopShelf Reggae is offering an exclusive download of 9 Mile Roots’ new song “On The Floor” on their website this week, under their Artist Spotlight series. The feature and download is live at https://topshelfreggae.com/news/artist-spotlight-9-mile-roots. “On The Floor” is the band’s first single from their forthcoming album, which will be titled ReEvolve, and is set for a release later this year.

Clearly not from the islands, 9 Mile Roots are not trying to act like they are, but reggae and rock is what they feel and what they make, unapologetically bassist/vocalist Josh Behun points out, “We may not be a vision of the typical dreadlocked reggae musician that would first come to mind – but reggae music has never been about what’s on the outside – music comes from the soul – and what drives us keeps us alive.”  And when the suburbanite 8 piece hits the stage, they really turn on–their draw in and around the Delmarva area shows that, which is why they were able to secure a summer residency at the renowned Seacrets Nightclub, a legendary Eastern Shore party spot. In addition, they were recently added to the lineup for Reggae in the Park, on August 29, where they will join the likes of Damian and Stephen Marley for Philly’s biggest annual reggae festival.

9 Mile Roots consists of members Jay Randell (lead vocals/trumpet), Dave Muse (drums), Josh Behun (bass), Matt Huss (guitar, vocals), Ryan McDonough (guitar), Matt Foote (baritone sax), Casey Masters (trumpet), and Gabe Andino (tenor sax/vocals), 9 Mile Roots bring an intense and rich sound to their live performances, which seethe with an ample of amount of rock energy while keeping the reggae-tinged groove consistent throughout their favorite songs like the upbeat and uptempo “Kabuki” and the crunchy and funky “Simplify”.

9 Mile Roots Suburban Reggae Montauk Music

"9 Mile Roots is a strong collaboration of musicians pulling from very diverse backgrounds - With so many different influences crushing together with the common goal to produce lively upbeat music, our sound is best described as - rock reggae vibes with hard rock riffs, hip-hop flow, smooth brass licks and rock-steady hooks... Suburban Roots Reggae."

 Links

Website http://www.9mileroots.com/home

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/9mileroots

Twitter https://twitter.com/9MileRoots

SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/9-mile-roots

 >> For interview and media requests please contact:

Andrew McClatchy-Montauk Music: 484.326.4516 | andrew@montaukmusic.com<<

Kalen & The Sky Thieves Release New LP, ‘Bluebird’ – Stream the Album Now

On Tuesday Kalen & The Sky Thieves (http://www.kalenmusic.com/) released their new album, Bluebird. I’ve listened to it several times through prior to the release up to today, and I urge you to go and listen to it from start to finish, and find yourself on a moody rock journey that will make you a better person. Kalen Lister’s voice alone makes it an amazing album, but the song composition, musicianship and production quality put this album in another echelon right away. Plus, it will make you want to get up and dance right from first listen, if you’re not one of those self-conscious types, ya dig?

The best part is that two weeks ago, I had no idea about Kalen & The Sky Thieves. One of the things that I love about my job as a music publicist is finding myself at cool events due to dumb luck, which in this instance was an invitation from a fellow panelist at a local university career seminar. Elisa, the general manager of RAW Baltimore suggested that I come see what their bi-monthly showcase events were all about.

In short, it’s artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians… If you’re a creative sort, you’ve got a place at a RAW Showcase. With no idea of what to expect, I sat down in the music room, where Kalen & The Sky Thieves were about to come on stage. They cooly came on and broke right into a bright and savory song, though I can’t fein to remember their setlist, just hearing them for the first time that very evening. At some point in their second song I started to feel like I was sitting through a nearly private performance for a band that was about to break out in a big way–the kind of thing that doesn’t happen too often.

Their set consisted of a collection of songs that established something rare these days: a true rock sound. After happily taking in their entire set, I felt that there was something about them, the “it”, or “the oooh” as one friend of mine likes to say. After meeting each member after the show, that feeling was reinforced by how sincere they were, and their excitement level after playing a relatively quick set that certainly blew a few more minds that just my own.

Enough, go drench yourself in some rock bliss and listen to their new LP Bluebird. And catch them on tour if can; I’ll be doing just that the next time they’re in my neck of the woods, which I hope is sooner than later. Once you’ve fallen in love, you can get the album from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bluebird/id919695837

Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kalenandtheskythieves

 

 

 

 

Vacationer – “The Wild Life” (video)

Music and surfing, surfing and music…like a coach and a team, peaches and cream, etc. They go insanely well together.

Vacationer - The Wild Life - Official Video

Kenny Vasoli of Vacationer

I’ve recently been doing a series of interviews with musicians that surf, mostly because the conversations flow when the common ground of surfing is the topic. To add to that, I genuinely like the music my interview subjects produce; maybe even more like love.

It may be because their water experience flows into their music and resonates with me. Though I’ve not met or interviewed Kenny Vasoli, lead singer of Vacationer, as of yet, I decided to post up the band’s latest single and video, “The Wild Life”. It’s off their album Relief, which was released on June 23rd.

Kenny’s a surfer, see, and though their label describes this song as “[mixing] the influence of The Beach Boys, J. Dilla and LCD Soundsystem into a sonic mai tai,” throwing down comparisons simply puts mental walls around the experience of a first listen without the influential notion of trying to pick out other bands’ sounds and musical styling.

Plus, I have a fundamental problem with the Beach Boys comparison. At least give Kenny some credit, he actually surfs, while the band once dubbed “America’s Band” only had one member who ever even set foot on a board, and only casually at that.

I might be using logic that only surfers will understand, but the surfing aspect of life, once taken root, shows through in the music. Hence the reason that while The Beach Boys were embraced by the mainstream and labeled “surf music” by the clueless masses, it was never considered surf music by real surfers of the day; an era of surfing defined by counter-culture rebellion, when surfers were outcasts. We’re not outcasts anymore (most of us, at least), but the essence and attitude of surfing still remain. It’s a drug, it’s addictive, and it teaches us things about life that simply can’t be learned elsewhere.

While “The Wild Life” isn’t a song I fell immediately in love with, it’s clear from the video imagery that Kenny has been to many places similar to where I’ve traveled. That tropical and carefree attitude is palpable in both the song and video, and I can sense that song coming to him on a trip somewhere in Central America, where the pace of life slows down considerably, allowing for freer, right-brained type of thought.

The parts that really hook me in and put a smile on my face: The feeling of being on a surf trip that the video evokes, and the lyrics, “No point in making plans, the wild life is human nature.” Go off the grid, get in the water, live life at its purest. Ahhh. I’m all for “The Wild Life”.

Check out Vacationer’s website and their Facebook.